1400 North Third Street
Arkansas City, KS 67005
March 4, 2004
Mr. Foss Farrar:
Ever since I came across Lois Hinsey’s notes about Ferdinandina, I have been most intrigued about the place—and so was my late husband.
Pages 9 through 14 of Volume I, Cowley County History, were devoted by Kay to the archaeological investigations done in Cowley County concerning the Indian mounds, etc., found in the Arkansas City area. Like so many things that seem to occur to this unfortunate county and city, all the artifacts were gathered into the Colorado Building, which burned down.
Kay never had much time to explore Ferdinandina [which he usually called Ferdinandino] and the one person who might have helped since he lived in the immediate area, never responded to him.
Janel Hutchinson told me that she used to explore the remnants of the old fort with her father, who was very interested in the place.
It is hard for me to understand why Jim Hardy never contacted any archaeologists as this is really their field rather than the historians.
Kay and I both met Marlin F. Hawley, archaeologist, who did some digging on the Walnut River for the Kansas State Historical Society years ago and who left, in utter disgust with the Society, for the Wisconsin Historical Society, where he has been hard a work for years. He recently got some more data from me concerning early digs, etc., and wrote two articles that appeared in The Kansas Anthropologist—Volume 24, 2003. I assisted him with the article entitled “Early Investigations of Archeological Sites in the Lower Walnut River Valley.”
Here are some excerpts from Hawley about Bert Moore.
“In his column, “Miscellaneous Notes,” George Remsburg, a native of Atchison County, Kansas, wrote about a November 1916 find.
‘The skeleton of a man believed to be from five hundred to two thousand years old has been dug from an Indian mound on the T. J. Phillips farm, two miles southeast of Arkansas City, by Bert Moore, formerly Cowley County assessor, and a party of friends. Many Indian relics were obtained from the mound. J. A. Sterling and W. H. Martin, anthropologists from the University of Kansas, are here to take the skeleton to the university museum.’
“The mound in question, according to Moore’s testimony to Wedel, was situated at the location of the present-day Country Club building on the Arkansas City Country Club grounds east of the city. . . .”
“Albert F. ‘Bert’ Moore, a recurrent figure in the archeology of the area during the early and mid-twentieth century, was born and reared south of Arkansas City on 140-Foot Hill. From the 1890s onward, he took an interest in the sites in the area, collecting from the famous eighteenth-century Wichita sites of Deer Creek and Bryson-Paddock; the Maple City, Kansas, and Hardy, Oklahoma, quarries; and other sites in the vicinity of Arkansas City. Moore and his wife Mary also photographed rock art sites in the area. He served as a guide to Wedel’s 1940 Smithsonian expedition, . . .”
“He [Moore] was in contact with Joseph Thoburn, a historian-archeologist with the Oklahoma Historical Society, and Thoburn’s assistant, Otto Spring. The subject of much of his correspondence—indeed, the focus of a great deal of Moore’s attention—was the eighteenth century Wichita sites, Deer Creek and Bryson-Paddock, across the border in Kay County, Oklahoma. He penned at least one short article on the sites (Moore 1928). By the 1920s he had come across a reference on a map, one that he took to show an early settlement named Ferdinandina at the location of either the Bryson-Paddock or Deer Creek site. Mildred Wedel (1981:51-56) has implicated Moore’s confusion about this map as the genesis for a persistent myth regarding these sites as the location of an eighteenth-century French outpost. Elwin Hunt championed the story in the local press (E. Hunt to W. Connelley, letter, 30 February 1932).
“The presence of French or even earlier Spanish intrusion into the area was then and is still a topic of considerable interest. Besides the Deer Creek and Bryson-Paddock sites, there was the report of flintlocks by Elwin Hunt, though this may be the result of a mistake, and the contact items from the 1916 excavations in which Moore was also involved.”
Foss, I disagree with my good friend, Hawley, about Ferdinandina. For some reason or another, he bought the package that much of Moore’s work was suspect because Moore did not painstakingly record everything.
It would not surprise me at all to learn eventually that stone cabin owned by Jim Hardy was an outpost for Ferdinandina.
Anyway, it is something that you can dig into, provided you have the time.
Mary Ann Wortman